The Homelessness Reduction Act places a duty on councils to help prevent the homelessness of all who are eligible and threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need.
Key measures in the act include:
- an extension of the period in which the authority should treat someone as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days
- a new duty to prevent homelessness and a new duty to relieve homelessness
- a strengthened advice and information duty to provide a specialist and accessible advice service to prevent homelessness
- a requirement for public services to notify the council if they come into contact with someone who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness (Duty to Refer)
- a new duty to assess and agree a personalised housing plan with a client to include a full assessment of their circumstances.
- a duty on the applicant to co-operate with the authority in resolving their housing issue.
Duties to prevent and relieve homelessness:
Norwich City Council has a duty to help people if they are at risk of losing their suitable accommodation within 56 days.
To relieve homelessness, the council will help all those who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation regardless of whether they are ‘intentionally homeless’ or priority need. Eligible households are given help to find accommodation.
If neither of these steps work and the household remains or becomes homeless, then those clients in priority need retain their rights be housed, but those who are non-priority are not entitled to any further help.
Councils are also required to make sure that everyone can get free information and advice on preventing and relieving homelessness, particularly vulnerable groups including victims of domestic abuse, persons suffering from mental ill health and prisoners on release.
If you are threatened with homelessness or are homeless, or would like to find out more about the Homelessness Reduction Act, you can contact our Housing Options team on 0344 980 3333.